Thursday, Nov. 18, 1999 | 11:15 a.m.
A deal to bring in long-time gaming executive Bill Friedman to salvage nearly 800 jobs at the Maxim hotel-casino has fallen through, and the off-Strip hotel-casino is still due to close no later than Dec. 6.
Friedman, who has held executive positions at the Rio hotel-casino and the former Castaways and Silver Slipper properties once owned by Summa Corp., was approached by Maxim owner Premier Interval Resorts Inc. as a possible operator for the Flamingo Road resort.
"I was available to keep it open to save those 800 jobs if Premier wanted to keep it open," Friedman said today. "The only thing I know now is that they're not going to keep it open. I don't know the reasons why."
Dallas-based Premier said two weeks ago it was "in negotiations with prospective operators to run the Maxim," but hasn't issued any statements since then. Company executives couldn't be reached for comment today.
Premier lawyers had also scheduled a meeting two weeks ago with gaming executive Ed Nigro, who's been running the financially ailing Maxim for nearly two years. But they didn't show up for the meeting, and Nigro said he hasn't heard anything from them.
Nigro has been licensed by state gaming regulators to operate the Maxim for Premier, which bought the hotel-casino out of bankruptcy earlier this year.
Nigro said he was forced to tell employees the Maxim would close Dec. 6 because Premier had defaulted on its lease agreement. Under the agreement, Premier was to make up a $300,000 cash-flow shortfall but failed to do so, Nigro said.
Premier, however, wrote Nigro a letter saying he had defaulted on the lease agreement by refusing to sign an agreement that would subordinate the Maxim's long-term obligations to those of a Premier investor.
Meanwhile, scores of Maxim employees who've been laid off recently have filed grievances with their unions over the resort's failure to pay vacation pay.
Brian Mahanna, a food service employee who has worked at the Maxim for 18 years, was terminated Nov. 11 and hasn't received the five-weeks' vacation pay he's owed.
Mahanna said he contacted the State Labor Commission, which told him it had no jurisdiction over the dispute. A commission official today said state law prohibits the agency from getting involved in disputes over vacation pay.